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Excerpt from Cherry Hill's Horse Care for Kids

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a special note to my readers

I am so excited for you! I think that horses are the most wonderful interest you could possibly have. Horses have given me so much enjoyment that I have spent my whole life learning about them. Now I'd like to help teach you how to care for your pony or your horse. Books are great sources of information about horses, but in order to become a really accomplished equestrian, you also need two special mentors.

What is a mentor? A mentor is a wise and dedicated teacher. One of your mentors should be a person who has had a lot of positive experiences with horses and loves and respects them, someone who works safely with horses and can describe to you how and why you should do things a certain way. This person could be old or fairly young. He or she could be a professional horse trainer or riding instructor, your aunt or grandfather, your next-door neighbor, the man who works at the feed store, or your 4-H or Pony Club leader.

If you find a mentor who is willing to share knowledge with you and teach you about horses, you are very lucky. Do everything you can do to show your mentor that you are serious and want to learn. Pay attention when he or she is explaining something. Never arrive late or miss a scheduled meeting or lesson with your mentor. Be respectful and polite.

A mentor is a great treasure for you to find. Think of things you can do to show your appreciation. Offer to do something that will be helpful, like cleaning a few stalls or soaping and oiling some bridles.

The second mentor you need is a well-trained, trustworthy horse. In Chapter 2, I'll give you some specific advice on how to choose the right horse - one that will be safe and fun for you to handle and ride. Look for a patient, well-trained, experienced horse that has already taught other young people how to ride. Usually such a horse will be old and wise but might not be a beauty contest winner. I've found that no matter what a horse looks like, if he is kind and safe and willing to teach you how to ride, you will love him dearly.

Even though riding is probably the main reason you have your horse, don't forget that your horse depends on you for proper feeding, health care, and exercise. I like to think of riding as my reward for a job well done. There is nothing quite like tacking up a healthy, happy, squeaky-clean horse and going for a ride on a trail or in a show. But to "get there" you have to do your horsekeeping homework first. And that's why I wrote this book especially for you - to help you learn how to take the very best care of your horse buddy.


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